By Brooke Thompson
Your teen is wanting to read more books that relate more to their age demographic or have to choose a book to read for class. However, when you both browse the teen fiction section in your local bookstore or scroll aimlessly through pages of book suggestions online, the task of selecting an interesting book might be challenging.
If you are a parent with a teenager who needs book suggestions or want to coax them into reading, try introducing these five YA book series to them. They are geared more towards 13-17 year olds, and there’s diversity in genres, that include: science fiction, fantasy, romance, and dystopian.
Here are five YA book series that are sure to thrill teens.
You may also like: 5 Middle Grade Book Series that Will Keep Kids at the Edge of Their Seats
Enchanting YA Book Series
1.Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
When I was in the 8th grade, my mother gave me Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment for Christmas. I had heard positive reviews from my peers about the book, so I gave it a shot. What I did not realize was how addicting the book (and later the series) was. I found the adventures of Max and her friends entertaining as they tried to hide from evil scientists and their monstrous creations called the Erasers (flying wolf-men hybrids).
I wanted to discuss my newfound obsession with someone, so I persuaded my best friend and my little brother to read the series. Just like I had hoped, they became addicted, too, and we would all have long talks about Maximum Ride.
The series follows the titular character Maximum “Max” Ride, who is “98% human and 2% avian,” as she escapes a sadistic laboratory called “the School” with her friends, who are also part avian. Max appropriately dubs her group “the Flock”, and they fly all over the world to try to learn about where they came from, why they were created, and, later, to prevent an apocalypse.
There are nine books in the Maximum Ride series, the page length varying from 350 pages to 470 pages. Despite their lengthy appearances, the Maximum Ride books can be read quickly since the chapters are short, ranging anywhere from 3 – 15 pages long. This aspect gave the books a fast-paced feel and made them easy to read in one sitting.
If your teen enjoys fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian books and are trying to find a great transition series from middle school books to YA novels, the Maximum Ride series is an excellent choice.
2.Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore
My eighth grade English teacher let our class choose books to read for our book reports. I remember a couple of boys chose different books from the Lorien Legacies series. After reading Maximum Ride, I was craving another science fiction series, and their reports prompted me to buy the first book, I Am Number Four.
What I wasn’t prepared for was that the series was about aliens with superpowers. That really put a different spin on the “aliens invading earth” trope. Lorien Legacies is actually about a group of nine alien children called “the Garde” who fled the planet of Lorien to hide out on Earth from another race of aliens: the Mogadorians.
To avoid the Mogadorians from capturing and slaughtering all of them at once, a charm was placed on the group. Each Garde member was assigned a number, and they had to be killed in that order. Otherwise, if a Mogadorian tried to kill one of the Garde members out of order, they would be killed instead of their target. However, there is a catch: the Garde members need to separate because if they stand together too long, the charm will dissolve, and it will not matter in which order they will be killed.
Hearing this dark premise made me hesitant to read the series at first, thinking I would be losing the main character after every book. However, as I began to read, I realized that a) that wasn’t necessarily the case, and b) each book is very different from the previous one.
For example, the first book, I Am Number Four, is about John Smith (or Number Four) who is struggling to learn how to control his powers as a Garde while trying to blend into human society. However, the next book, The Power of Six, is written in different perspectives of Garde members as they try to reconnect with their comrades.
The series then begins to be about John and his friends scouring the world, trying to learn the secrets about their heritage and enemies while training to defeat the evil Mogadorian leader Setrakus Ra.
Pittacus Lore is a pseudonym used by two authors James Frey and Jobie Hobes. Together, they have written seven books in the series with the page length averaging between 400-470 pages. Like Maximum Ride, the books are fast-paced, full of action, and entertaining.
If your teen is looking for a good action-packed novel or enjoys science fiction and super heroes, Lorien Legacies is the perfect YA series.
3.The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Back in 2013, I saw a movie trailer for City of Bones, the first book of The Mortal Instruments series. My 15 year old self thought it looked very interesting and decided to read the book before I watched the movie. What I didn’t expect was the book to manage combining both fantasy and romance and still make a compelling read. Suffice to say, I was instantly hooked from book one.
City of Bones is about a 16-year-old girl named Clary Fray, who witnesses a murder at a night club, and is shocked when nobody, including her best friend Simon, sees the perpetrators. She later learns that the murder she witnessed was actually a group of shadowhunters exterminating a demon. Also, the reason why she was the only one that saw this event happen was because she’s also a shadowhunter.
Shadowhunters are a race of superhumans that police the supernatural world. They keep other mythical creatures, like vampires, werewolves, faeries, and warlocks, from wreaking havoc on society, and hunt dangerous demons.
Upon learning this about herself, she gets sucked into a world of mayhem and politics when she discovers her estranged father Valentine is forming an army that will purge the world of both shadowhunters and mythical creatures alike. Not to mention, she has personal struggles of her own when she falls in love with the mysterious Jace Wayland. It causes a huge rift between her and Simon, who also confesses his love for her.
There are six books in The Mortal Instruments Series. Unlike Maximum Ride and Lorien Legacies, these books are longer, with the page length averaging about 500-600 pages. The books aren’t nearly as fast-paced like the previous suggestions, but Clare makes up for it by adding in drama and humor.
Clare has also written three other spin-offs to the Mortal Instruments. There are two prequel series, The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours Archives. These books are set in London between the late 1800s to early 1900s. The other spin-off is a sequel series to the Mortal Instruments. It is set five years after the events of the sixth book, City of Heavenly Fire, and features a whole different cast of characters in modern day Los Angeles.
What’s great about these spin-offs is that you don’t have to read The Mortal Instruments. While characters from all three series are mentioned or appear occasionally in the books, it does not detract from the story or make the reader feel lost.
If you or your child likes fantasy, mythology, and romance, this YA series is a good option.
4.The Selection series by Kiera Cass
When I was a senior in high school, I downloaded the first book of The Selection series onto my Kindle on a whim. Romance is not typically a genre I read, so I was surprised when I finished the book in two days. It was such a page turner! When I later added the other books to my Kindle, they proved to do the exact same thing!
The series is a Cinderella-meets-Esther type of story in a dystopian setting. While The Selection takes place in modern America, the country has a monarchy and a caste system. The caste system has eight castes with One being royalty and society’s elites and Eight being the homeless and handicapped.
The story features a 17-year-old girl named America Singer, who is a Five and on the lower end of the caste system. However, she and 34 other girls get selected to compete to become the bride of Prince Maxon. In the midst of all this, there is a rebellion going on, and America’s ex-boyfriend Aspen becomes a royal guard.
There are five books in The Selection series. The books range from anywhere between 250-360 pages. They are fast paced and full of drama, suspense, and humor. If you or your child enjoys a good romance story or dystopian fiction, this YA series is a fantastic pick.
5.To All the Boys trilogy by Jenny Hann
Like City of Bones, when I found out Netflix was making a movie based on this trilogy, I decided to give the first book To All the Boys I Loved Before a chance. As mentioned prior, YA romance books are not my first choices, yet this series made me more open-minded to them. I loved reading all the sticky situations the protagonist Lara Jean got herself into while also enjoying an interesting love story.
The series follows Lara Jean Song Covey who writes love letters to all the boys she once had a crush on. She keeps these letters hidden in a box underneath her bed until one day, the box goes missing and someone has mailed all of her letters to her crushes. Suddenly, multiple boys start confronting her about the letters, causing a lot of drama in her life.
For example, to avoid going on a date with her sister’s ex-boyfriend, she claims she’s dating one of her former crushes named Peter. What makes the situation even crazier is that when she later informs Peter about what happened, he’s cool with it. Things only go downhill from there. Over the course of the series, Lara Jean has to deal with Peter’s ex Genevieve, other love letter recipients, petty squabbles with her siblings, and preparing for college – all while wrestling with her feelings for Peter.
Despite the light-hearted premise, the books contain really good messages of the importance of family, dealing with loss, and growing up. The books range from 330-380 pages long, and the drama and humor make the books go by quickly.
If you or your child enjoys romance, drama, or coming-of-age tale type books, the To All the Boys trilogy is the YA series to read.
To Wrap Up
With this pandemic going on, these five YA book series will keep your teen entertained and provide a distraction from all the scariness going on in the world right now. The Maximum Ride and Lorien Legacies series are excellent choices for teens that love action, super heroes, and science-fiction. The Mortal Instruments is a great option for teens that enjoy the supernatural, fantasy, drama, and mythology. The Selection are fantastic books for teens that enjoy romance, drama, and dystopian fiction. Finally, To All the Boys trilogy are fun novels for teens that love comedies, drama, and romance.
What do you think of these five YA book series? What is your experience with these books? Was this list helpful? Let us know in the comments below.